By Lorraine Gabina – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Australian voters welcomed the end of a marathon election on Sunday but opinions were mixed over Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s retention of power.
Turnbull declared victory earlier in a marathon national election, with his coalition government retaining power and the opposition Labor party conceding defeat.
Vote counting continues into an eighth day, with Turnbull’s coalition expected to win two of the five seats still in doubt, enabling it to form a majority government, after having already won 74 of the 150 lower house seats up for grabs in the poll.
Expressing her views on Turnbull’s narrow win, Environmental Scientist, Jules Wright, said, “it’s not exactly unexpected but I think he’s actually been given a bit of a shock that, you know, it wasn’t a landslide and this is not us saying ‘you can do what you want’. He has to do what the people want.”
Although he is expected to form a majority government, Turnbull’s gamble in calling the election backfired badly, with a swing to the centre-left Labor opposition and a rise in the popularity of minor parties and independents.
Turnbull’s narrow margin of victory over Labor leaves him likely to be forced to rely on independents, who won five seats, to ensure the passage of legislation. That raises questions about how effective his government will be in the long term.
Also, with concern of Turnbull’s future as Prime Minister, Anglican Minister, Ross Weaver said, “Well, it’s a poison chalice really because his biggest problem is a hopelessly divided party and the knives will be out to get him because he didn’t do well enough in the election. They were expecting that he was going to have a very strong win and of course it’s just a very narrow victory so you just wonder how long his leadership can possibly last.”
The coalition will form majority government if they secure two more seats to reach the magic number of 76.